In the Wake of the Boatman – Review

In the Wake of the Boatman by Jonathon Scott Fuqua

Age: Adult

The first scene of the book opens up to a young man turned away from military service because of a bum knee, filled with a strange desire to crack his newborn son’s neck, as if to blame him for all the wrongs in life.

http://booklineandsinker.files.wordpress.com/2009/06/boatman.jpgThis is the start of Puttnam Douglas Steward, his first entrance into the world. From his birth and well into adulthood, Puttman has struggled with his father. Due to a lack of ability to communicate, the two men have a very strained and dysfunctional relationship, even though Carl Steward is able to be the fun loving dad with Putt’s older sister Mary. With a perfect sister, a disapproving father, and an alcoholic mother, Puttnam had to really struggle to create an identity for himself. Despite his questions about his gender identity, Puttnam still manages to achieve academic success in college and further military success when he enlists for the Vietnam War. Being a college graduate and war hero are two dreams his father held, but that never came to fruition for him. Instead of being proud of his son, there is only jealousy and resentment.

In The Wake of the Boatman is a very complex, character-driven novel with beautiful descriptions and well detailed characters. The book is also really heavy on the psychological and emotional ups and downs of Puttnam, which made it hard to read. The book is slightly depressing, so you have to be in a mood for it. Once I got to the second half of the book, I was able to read it with an easier flow. This is the type of book that you can’t stop reading when you start, but once you put it down, are very hesitant to pick it back up, knowing what awaits. Overall, I think this is one of the better written books I’ve read this year in regards to character development and detailed storyline.

In the Wake of the Boatman
by Jonathon Scott Fuqua
Bancroft Press, 2008
ISBN 1890862428
305 pages
Source: Review

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Find this book at your local library

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3 responses to “In the Wake of the Boatman – Review

  1. I definitely agree, both about it picking up in the second half and about it being easier to read more at once, rather than pick it up and put it down.

  2. This definitely sounds like one I need to read!

  3. Pingback: 2009 Recap « The Novel World

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